Southern Kaduna Attacks: Death Toll Rises to 26

  • 24-hour curfew imposed on LGs as SOKAPU kicks

John Shiklam in Kaduna

The Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Mr. Agyole Abeh, has confirmed that two men were among the 22 people killed in an attack by gunmen believed to be Fulani herdsmen on four communities in Jama’a and Kaura Local Government Areas of the state.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the attacks has risen to 26 following the recovery of four more corpses in the bush, according to the President of the Atakad Development Association, Mr. Enock Andong.

Speaking on a telephone tuesday, Abeh said the two police men were killed in the attack in Bakin Kogi village in Jema’a area last Sunday.

“Yes two of my men were killed in Jema’a. But the situation has been brought under control. I have already relocated to Kafanchan, as directed by the governor on Monday. I have just returned to Kaduna to brief the governor on the situation back there. But I want to assure you that we have the situation under control. From now on, I will be operating from Southern Kaduna,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state government tuesday imposed a 24-hour curfew in the two council areas following tension and apprehension.

The government in a statement by Samuel Aruwan, spokesman of Governor Nasir el-Rufai, said: “The action became necessary to protect life and property and to avoid further breakdown of law and order.

Aruwan said the decision to impose the curfew was taken by the state security council, adding that all security agencies on a special operation in the two local government areas had been directed to ensure strict compliance.

The statement said only essential workers and those on humanitarian services are allowed movement after due clearance by security agencies.

However, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has faulted the 24-hour curfew imposed on the two local government areas.

President of SOKAPU, Solomon Musa, a lawyer, said although the group supports any lawful step that could stop the attacks, he, however, noted that experience had shown that imposing curfew will make it easier for the marauders to continue with their evil acts.

Speaking in a telephone interview with THISDAY, he said: “I want the position of SOKAPU to be clear. We are all in support of any lawful measure that would bring succor peace and security to our people. We are not against any curfew if it would make us more secure.

“But our experience in the past few weeks has shown that anytime a curfew was imposed, it keeps our people at home for the marauders to easily attack.”

According to him, “It was under a curfew and the heavy presence of police that Goska, a short distance from Kafanchan was attacked last December. It was also a 24 hours curfew that some youths were killed in Samaru Kataf not far from a major police check point last January.

“The curfew in Zangon Kataf lasted for two weeks. People stayed indoors, markets and schools were shut. The victims of the violence were further punished while the killers roamed freely.

“It became very difficult for many to feed their households. If this latest curfew would lead to apprehending the murderers, good and fine. But if it is just to add to our suffering by being forced to stay at home, then we beg to differ,” he said.